cheap dialogue, cheap essential scenery*

If ever there was a symbol of humankinds’ misperceptions and delusions, it’s the Berlin Wall. The torch for the wall remains lit, surprisingly, with many from the system that fell unceremoniously on 9 november 1989 still pining for the red days (along with truth-dodging west germans on an Ostalgie trip). The GDR was a vast set for the filming of a reality version of Orwell’s 1984, shot in StalinaScope, with a cast of – well, a whole country. Citizen Kane? Oh I think we can do better than that… are you ready for your closeup Herr Honecker?

The basic function of the wall, in case you’d forgotten (I had) was not to keep the decadent Westies out – it was to keep the psychologically traumatised Easters from leaving their brave new utopian “demoncratic” state in droves. Like an eastern european version of Hotel California.

Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire and U2′s Zoo go some way to explain the suffering of Berliners during and after the war, and their recovery, in part, in the Reagan era. But it’s rose-tinting – the system was of course a nightmare, like all attempts to paraphrase Marx, Brechtian approval or not. von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others explains some aspects, albeit gratuitously in parts; Gerhard Behrendt’s The Sandman childrens animation is a charming propaganda of the ideologies that kept the system afloat.
*Holidays in the Sun
Screenshot from BBC2′s March 2009 The Lost World of Communism